Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Fate of a Horse

By Laura Crum


As the author of ten mysteries featuring equine veterinarian Gail McCarthy, I’ve done plenty of writing about horses in my life. But until I was invited to participate in this blog by its founders, back in March of this year, I had never written a blog, or, for that matter, read one. So, for the last few months I’ve been reading various “horse blogs”, trying to find out what it is I’m supposed to be doing here, exactly. From what I’ve read so far, there seems to be great variety; some blogs are essentially just personal diaries, others have a particular theme…etc. The most popular one I’ve stumbled upon (judging by the number of comments) is essentially a rant against horses going to slaughter—also addressing the various reasons horses end up going to slaughter, including poor breeding and training practices as well as the basic inhumanity and stupidity of many in the horse industry. Now I agree with this gal’s opinions more often than not, though I’m not nuts about the “diatribe” format. I admit it can be entertaining to read her rants (must be why she gets so many readers). Still, the main point of “Fugly Horse of the Day”, as I see it, is how we as ethical horse owners can do the best for the horses in our care. And one question arises for me over and over again, which I would like to pose to the regulars on "fugly horse" (and anyone else who reads this blog); a question that really bothers me, and I welcome any insights offered
.
I’ve owned horses all my life; I’ve trained horses, competed for years, rescued other people’s horses and retired them, retired my old horses…etc. I currently maintain eleven horses, only four of which we ride. One of the main things I have learned, after thirty-five years of owning, riding and training horses, is that if you truly care about the ultimate fate of a horse you have to retain ownership of said horse. And you have to check on the horse regularly if its placed with another caregiver. Even if that caregiver seems absolutely perfect in every way. (I could tell you stories.)

I have never had the experience of a horse that I retained ownership of coming to a bad end, but there were some situations that could have worked out that way if I had not owned the horse and checked on the horse regularly. The only horses I ever owned that may have had a sad fate were those I sold. And I never sold any horse that was not sound and well-trained (within the parameters of that individual—like people, some horses just have easier personalities than others). I have always tried to sell only to people I knew, who I believed were responsible, but the truth is, when you sell a horse you lose control of that horse. If the new owner decides to sell the horse, he/she can do that, and doesn’t need to consult you first (even if they promise you that they will). Once they have a bill of sale and you have the money, they have control of that horse’s fate.

At this point in my life, I’ve pretty much given up selling horses; if I take a horse on I’m responsible for its fate, and I take that seriously. Which is why I have eleven horses, only four of which are our riding horses. The others? Horses I owned who got injured or became lame or just got old and are now happily retired. Two horses that didn’t really fit me and are now being cared for and ridden by others (and are checked on regularly). One horse that I rescued many years ago and had to take away from the home where I placed him (which for many years worked well), when the horse got old enough that he couldn’t keep his weight on and the people who had him were unwilling/unable to fork out the money for the diet of “equine senior delight” that he needed. This horse now lives with my retired horses and is slick and happy. In fact, all my eleven horses are healthy and happy today, within the parameters of who they are.

The horses I feel sad about are the ones I sold. Now, I did not sell these horses when their using days were done. No, the horses I sold were all young, sound, and reasonably well-trained. And when I sold them, I thought I was selling them to good homes. But in some cases (not all) the horse eventually changed hands, and one at least did end up at the livestock auction, as I found out later.

No, this horse did not go to the killer buyers. At least not when I heard of her. Because she was a young, sound, pretty mare, well-bred, with papers, and broke to ride, she got bought by a local horse trader and sold to be a riding horse. He told me about this later (my name was listed on the papers as a previous owner—I was not the breeder), which is how I found out. I have no idea what caused her to end up at the auction in the first place.

To be honest, I’m not sure what I could/should have done differently. Lets face it, I sold these horses for a reason. One and all, they didn’t fit me; they weren’t the ones I wanted to keep and take care of forever. But I did want them to have good homes and I thought I had sold them to such. Thus I no longer sell the ones that don’t fit me; I place them in homes where they fit (and I check on them). But at the time I sold these other horses, I couldn’t afford this luxury.

I still wonder what happened to some of these horses I sold; I have nightmares about them ending up on trucks to the killers. At one time I owned them and was fond of them and agonized over their health and training. I certainly always wanted the best for them. Is the answer that one can never sell a horse? What is the ethical horse owner to do faced with this situation: I bought this horse, he doesn’t fit me, and I don’t really want to be his forever home. I want to give forever homes to horses I truly love and admire (and there are always more of these in the world than I can ever give homes to). It is a tough question, or at least I think so. I wish I knew what the right answer is/was. Thanks for your insights.

Laura Crum

http://www.lauracrum.com/

40 comments:

mugwump said...

Laura,
I have quit buying, selling, or breeding. I currently own five horses and have come to realize that's where it will stay.
Fuglyhorseoftheday helped me make this decision.
Her in your face format is wilder than mine, but it keeps me thinking.
The horse industry needs her.
I have a Barnes and Noble gift card burning a hole in my pocket; I'm going to try your mysteries.
I'm an avid reader, love a good mystery, and my horses...this should be fun.
Glad to have found you!

Laura Crum said...

mugwump, I have read your comments on fugly and admired them. Sounds like you are a reiner (like I used to be). And yes, fugly has made me do a lot of thinking--I still agonise over the horses I sold--not to mention all the nice horses I've ridden that were never mine. Some in particular haunt me. I only wish I could have bought and retired them all.

Mrs Mom said...

I, too Laura, agonise over horses that have gone from my hands to others. Once upon a time, I used to go to the local killer sale, and buy OTTBs and other down on their luck horses, bring them back to health, and resell them. I can not say that I know the fate of any of them, any longer.

Like Mugwup, I no longer breed, no longer sell, and no longer buy. My personal horse count stands at zero- but that frees me up to care for horses that need help here. I'll foster horses for rescues, and care for horses that need intervention.

Right now, it is all I can offer. Aside from working to educate. Teaching and talking horse is a daily occurence.

Frankly Laura, I for one am quite glad that you accepted this gig. I have enjoyed reading your offerings here, and our "conversations" that have resulted from them.

quietann said...

When I bought my current and first horse, the idea was to keep her forever. She seemed like a good idea at the time, but has some issues (some of which are new and some of which are not.) Super talented but HOT and sometimes her brains leak out her ears. We are not a great match... though with good training we *could* be. I am not sure, at my age, if continuing to try is a good idea.

I can't bear the thought of selling her, knowing that she requires a careful hand. If she ended up in the wrong hands, she'd be on the one-way trip to Canada.

I can afford one and only one horse at this time. I probably have enough money to half-lease a more suitable horse, if my current situation (essentially a free lease on a talented but quieter older horse who needs to be ridden to keep him from getting too stiff) falls through.

Somehow I am committed to the horse first. What happens to her is more important than anything else. But it can hurt like mad.

Kay said...

I bought an eight year old horse many years ago. I knew she had heaves but she was a beginner horse and what I needed at the time. I have owned several horses since then but she was one of my first and also my last horse. She lived to be 38 years old and there was no way I could have possibly sold her.

She raised three generations of riders and is now buried on a friend's farm.

Kay said...

BTW. I've been a fugly addict since the very beginning of her blog.

I agree with the others, the horse world needs her.

Mary Paine said...

Laura,
I've heard some real horror stories about neglected and cruelly treated horses. I am so thankful my husband's family has a large farm I can retire my horses to. My heart would be breaking if I had to sell or give away one of my horses & not be assured of their safety and happiness. My husband's family takes in as many retired horses as they can manage, which I really admire.

Mary

Laura Crum said...

I think you all are right that the horse world needs fugly, and I do agree with much of what she says. I guess my caveat would be that I have not seen much good done in the world by attacking and blaming folks (much as they may richly deserve it)--and I admire the fugly blogger most for her actual work at rescuing and caring for horses as opposed to attacking the "asshats". But who knows, that may do some good that I don't understand. (And obviously, people love reading it.) I'm all for improving the lives of horses in any way possible, and have tried to conduct my life along those lines. And I write about this, too--hopefully in a not-too-preachy way--in my mystery series featuring equine vet Gail McCarthy. I will defintely be creating an anti-slaughter advocate for my next story (and she won't be the villain--ooops--gave that away, didn't I?)

Laura Crum said...

quietann, I totally sympathise. I can't sell horses any more either. Which is why I currently have eleven. Not to mention just last week I agreed to take another. I have farmed out a few that didn't fit my needs to more suitable homes, and as long as I kept checking and stayed responsible for the horse (and continued to own the horse), a lot of these situations have worked out well.

Jami Davenport said...

Laura, I always love your posts.

My old gelding, Moses, is still going strong at about 29. I leased him to a couple who have had him for years. They adore him. I didn't want to sell him because leasing gave me more control. I made it clear to them that if they ever didn't want him, he was to be returned to me. I admit that I'm lucky because I have space for a few retired horses.

mugwump said...

One thought on never selling...if you are the wrong match, and you can find the right match with another owner, then I would go for it. I have always felt being saddled (couldn't resist)with a horse you can't get along with is a waste of you as the horse owner, and the horse.
If you can only have one it should be one you can live with and enjoy.

Laura Crum said...

mugwump, I agree with you about passing on a horse that doesn't fit you. My only problem is that I am afraid to sell them for fear they'll end up coming to a bad end. (I've had a few experiences that I'm still afraid worked out that way, as I reference in my post.) But several years ago I placed a horse I broke and trained who didn't fit me for various reasons in a home where they love him and ride him regularly and have agreed to retire him when he gets old, and so far this is working great. (This horse had to be evacuated in the most recent fire here in Santa Cruz County and I could not rest until I had talked to his caregiver/new home and found out that he was fine.)And I placed another one several years ago and this horse was retired and then euthanized when he got too arthritic to get up and down and I felt very good about his life. So, yes, I think passing a horse on to a home where he fits is a good thing, but in my experience, if you can afford it and you truly care about the fate of that horse, its best to retain ownership and keep checking on the horse.

nccatnip said...

God, I wish you had not posed this question.
I am looking at making some decisions on my crew. Do I keep them all and never help another or lease/sell with buy back option?
It is very emotional for me and at this time I just cannot bear the thought of making any decision.

LolaJ said...

I've only ever had to sell one horse and he was my once in a lifetime. I had moved over to the States for health reason (I had both of my hips replaced, long story btw since I'm only 22) And it was either he stayed out in the pasture at my parents and got fat and unhappy (he needed a job, he wasn't one to be content just being an ornament) or I could find someone who would love and appreciate him as much as I did. One of the girls at the barn had just lost her 30+ lifer and wasn't really looking for a 'replacement' But she heard I was looking for the perfect home for Gulliver and jumped at the chance. I got really lucky being able to place him with her, as he wasn't the easiest keeper and at 25+ he wasn't exactly a spring chicken. There wasn't a week that went by that I didn't check on him and when he started colicking uncontrollably last year, I was the first to be informed. Through the help of some friends I was able to fly back and see my old friend before he was peacefully let go.
When I got started in the horse world I always figured and it was always my intention that any horse I owned would be with me to the very end. Now I understand that unforseen circumstances do happen but it can be possible to keep track of your equines if you're not in the rescue business. I do understand too, however, that it has to be very hard to keep track of rescues, especially if you do more than a couple a year.
Having said all of this I have always wondered how hard it would be to put a clause in the sale contract that you're to be informed if the horse is to be sold. I think that would save a lot of people many sleepless nights wondering the fate of their old friends.

Laura Crum said...

Thank you LolaJ for your story. And nccatnip, I struggle with this issue a lot. I keep increasing my horse herd, and I know that can't go on forever.

spottedmonster said...

Laura,

I have read most of your books and really enjoyed them! I also am in the process of selling a horse that wasn't a good match for my daughter. It was a tough decision and I will do my best to ensure that he goes to the "right" home and will put a first right of refusal into his sales contract. It does worry me that his life could take a turn for the worse at some point but I hope to keep track of him and do what I can to keep that from happening.

horspoor said...

Laura,
Well, I was going to breed one of my mares this season...didn't. I'm at five horses now. Afraid to sell any of them. I know I'll eat Top Ramen to make sure they eat, I really don't know what someone else is willing to do.

I have nice horses. Not world champions, or grand prix horses...but nice, well mannered, good looking, well bred horses. Pretty easy to place horses.

The horses I've sold I've put a buy back clause on the bill of sale. I wont sell a lame horse. I wont sell a horse with issues.

I was offered a pretty decent amount for my mare a few years ago...she's a fruitloop, a talented fruitloop, but a fruitloop. I almost sold her. Then I started thinking. It would probably go well until they gave her time off, or got mad at her. Then they would think her issues, fear issues were naughtiness and she'd be in trouble. And it would escalate from there. So..screw it. I kept my fruitloop. A friend is running her this season. They get along well.

Mental_Midget said...

Was there a question, there? Sorry it was unreadable. Better luck next time.

Fugly Owner in VA said...

Well.....

I've been a volunteer at a local horse rescue place for the past 15 years. I've seen a lot, and heard a lot of varying opinions.

Now, here's my opinion.

First, I don't believe it is wrong to sell a horse, especially if the horse is well-trained and properly socialized, and the new owners are checked out. After all, there has to be some kind of "movement" or the industry will collapse.

What seems to scare people the most is that big unknown factor - will my horse wind up at a slaughter auction someday?

And sadly, I think that particular problem is going to be with us for a long, long, long time.

The slaughter industry in this country is a symptom of a larger problem, an over-population of horses. Cut down on the amount of "un-wanted" horses, and the slaughter industry could eventually disappear from the U.S.

HOWEVER...it's not just about too many horses. Slaughter exists because there is a demand for horse meat, and quite frankly, I can't see that ever changing. I seriously doubt the entire world will someday become vegetarian.

Since it is unlikely the demand for horse meat will stop, that leaves caring horse owners very little choice, other than to do what we can to control how many animals go to slaughter (including our own animals).

It goes right back to what Fugly has said from Day One, "Stop breeding fugly horses!" Until we can get a handle on the U.S. horse population, slaughter will continue to exist in this country. There's just nowhere to put all those horses, there aren't enough people who want them, and there are too many people willing to use those horses to make a quick buck.

In the interim, we should do anything and everything possible to ensure humane treatment of those poor animals who do get shipped off for slaughter. It's a nasty business, but it'll never go away unless the demand for horse meat ends. We at least need to try to get the entire process cleaned up as much as possible to reduce the suffering of the animals.

Parts of Europe and Great Britain seem to have the right idea, with traveling butchers, or the option of bringing a horse to an abattoir to be humanely put down on site.

Anyhow, that's my take on the issue.

As for my own horse, he's old, retired, and I can't really ride him anymore, but he'll be with me until he passes on.

Mental_Midget said...

Pardon my ignorance, but how is a horse used in a "feedlot"?

Sue's dam is an excellent all-around horse, her dam has been used in the feedlot, in barrels, poles, western pleasure, halter, showmanship, horsemanship, reining, flags, goat tying ...

Laura Crum said...

spottedmonster--and everybody else who has talked about a right-of-first refusal clause in the contract--that's a good point. The only problem is that sometimes the horse gets offered back to you at a time and a price that just doesn't work. This happened to me--I horse I sold when he was seven got offered back to me ten yesars later when he was seventeen. The people no longer wanted him (lots of reasons, not the horse's fault) and guess what? They wanted the same $3500 back that they'd paid for him. Of course, he wasn't worth that at that point, but they certainly couldn't hear that. Not to mention I was going through a divorce and could barely support the horses I had at that time. I told them to call me if they failed to place the horse at that price and I'd see what I could do. They never called me back. That horse still torments me. I wonder if he ended up at the killers--no way were those people able to sell him for $3500 to a good home. And I broke and trained him and owned him for two years. I didn't sell him because he was my favorite horse, lets face it, but I sure didn't want him to end up at the killers. It just drives me nuts.

Laura Crum said...

Oh, and Mental-Midget, you seem to be referring to a quote that is not part of my blog--I'm not sure where it came from. I do know how a horse is used in a feedlot, but it isn't relevant to this discussion.

Laura Crum said...

Mental-Midget--Now I know what you're quoting. One of the ads that fugly made fun of. Well, that wasn't me. I'm not selling any horses. My blog was about the ethics of selling a horse. But for your info, a horse is used in a feedlot to push cattle through crowding alleys, separate cattle, and usually has to do a lot of opening and closing of gates. Sometimes some corral roping. I've done this work before--in my long lost youth.

May Bee said...

In my 30 years of horse ownership, I've only ever sold one, and years later, attempted to find her and buy her back, but never could.
I've also had, during those 30 years, dreams of owning a particular breed of horse, a particular type of horse, a particularly trained horse, or some other fancy. I no longer think of a horse I might have, but focus entirely on the horse that I already have. He has issues, and much of his life has been spent more as a pasture ornament than a riding horse. I would dearly love to have a horse I can ride as much as I want, when I want, where I want, but I cannot afford a second horse, and will not sell or otherwise dispose of my current horse to get one. I get to wish others fun and joy on their trips to clinics, trail rides and shows, but I don't get to go. For myself, it is enough that I may look deeply into my horse's soft, brown eyes and know that he is well cared for, loved and appreciated for what he is. I will never sell him.

Thanks for your stories. I enjoy reading them. In fact, I have long been considering a similar vein of writing on an entirely different central theme that has nothing to do with horses, but is something I am almost as passionate about. Perhaps I will.

austriancurls said...

Hi Laura,

I think most of your comments are appropriate, however...the point of the FUGLY blog is something you missed.

Although you covered most all the angles, and also made the point that it is a bit of a diatribe, the real problem is that it had to go so far before something was or even will be done.

In the age I grew up in, and when horses where still treated like gods, and how they were at home previously handled with respect and care, the horse was holy in and of use in many respects, he was given a permanent home, he was trained to perform certain tasks, and treated as a family member...why?

Well...the reason is very clear to see. The horse, in earlier times, and in times that were still closely bound to essential historical events, was like the automobile today. TheĆ½ were the only transportation, they were a means of sport. They were the only means of getting from A to B with or without style, poor or rich.

With the event of gasoline obsession, and a generation removed from those who still had connections with what the horse provided, you can imagine that people are a little out of touch.

And, that is what FUGLY's diabtribe is all about, reconnecting sense, reconnecting value, reconnecting the bond between the person and the horse, in a very senseless and thoroughly and totally uneducated, disonnected, and completely distracted to the point of hurting themselves, and demolated world.

Laura Crum said...

Well, drat, Austriancurls, I thought the point of fugly was about being ethical, responsible horse owners rather than "asshats"...hmmm isn't that what you're telling me in a great many words and a in a rather convoluted way? I think I said it a little cleaner. Just my opinion.

austriancurls said...

laura_cum:

When horse owning, horse owners, and everything to do with horses would be so simple as you have summed it up - responsible horse ownership and asshats, then we would live in the land of Oz. Or not?

Laura Crum said...

Austriancurls, We certainly don't live in the land of Oz and there are always a lot of grey areas between the responsible, ethical horse owners and the asshats--something I'd be the first to say and feel might be pointed out more often on Fugly. I was more or less summing up her take on it as expressed in the blog. In the case of your comment, I guess I should have said that I got your point--we are very disconnected from our true selves and nature in this modern world, and connecting to horses is a good antidote to that. But I don't agree with much of what you said; horses were not treated like gods in previous generations--not around here--I can't say about Europe. But I'm from a ranch family and I know a lot about how horses have been treated when they were the means of transportation and the "tractors" and believe me, it wasn't any better in an overall sense than the way they're treated now. Also, as a professional writer, I just had to have a little snipe at the "purple prose." Sorry.

tierra said...

Laura--I'm very excited to read your books. Actually, I'm hoping some of them are on tape, since I hardly have time actually to read any more.

Your question posed haunts me. I have a QH gelding that I really should sell. I stupidly got talked into buying him when he was a yearling, because I was supposed to "flip him" within a few months. Of course, knowing myself, I should have known that would never happen. But then the horse had a bad gelding experience and almost died and--well, a person gets attached to a horse during those near-death experiences. I still intended to sell him and was offered a very respectable $3500 for him when he was unbroke at 2 years of age. Just couldn't get myself to do it--and they seemed like extremely nice people who wanted him for a trail horse.

I have 5 horses and have to pay board on them, so I tried selling him again recently--had a few bites--and again can't bring myself to do it. I'm fairly sure I can find the first good home and let him go, but then what? I'm scared to death what happens to him after that. He is a sweetheart of a horse and, while he's not what I would have picked for myself for a riding horse (he's very much halter bred), he's nice and cute and is getting to be quite well-trained. He's 4 years old now. Thankfully, his current trainer said she'd lease him so I don't have to make the decision to sell him... yet. Granted, I have land and will hopefully be out there within the next year, so if I can hold on that long, I suppose I'll keep him. And learn to ride him. Why? Because I can't stand throwing him out to a world who may not care for him. I know there are many, many horse owners who would give him a wonderful home... but what if he makes his way to one who doesn't? I just don't think I can live with the possibility. And yet--I have no problem with people training and selling perfectly useable horses. I think perhaps I'm just not cut out for it myself and may as well just recognize it and keep the dang horse and be done with it. :)

And I'll be the first to admit that I have sold 2 horses, both of whom wanted me dead (I don't think it was a personal vendetta, but I would have ended up dead or seriously maimed had I kept either one of them). I did not have the expertise or sheer guts to deal with either horse. I would bet that the first one I sold ended up at slaughter. I hear the second one is still a happy pasture ornament somewhere in the Northwest. I don't regret selling either one.

austriancurls--I'd love to think that all horses throughout history were treated with love and respect until recently, but I have to doubt that quite strongly.

I read Black Beauty...

austriancurls said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
austriancurls said...

Purple prose?" what the hell is that?

Gods...well, I never really meant "GODS" in the sense of Apollo or Zeus, but here in Austria, if your horse died because you didn't take care of him properly, then you were up ass creek because you had no means of getting anywhere, nor working your fields...and heaven forbid you had to beg your greedy, jealous neighbors for the use of _their_ horse.

Btw, ranch-land America is my home. I'm a late comer to Austria.

horspoor said...

Laura,
When I put in a right of refusal, it is at the same price I sold the horse for. I usually sell a little under market. I do not advertise, I only sell by word of mouth. I sell very few horses. I have purchased back two horses I've sold.

Both came back lame. Both were later useable, but not at the level they had been as they were also seniors when I got them back. Both had behavior issues. The mare couldn't be tied to a trailer anymore, set back in panic. The gelding came home with a bolting issue. Both got better, but never as good as they had left.

So, as you can see, I'm just making a fortune in horses. Sell a sound well trained, well mannered horse. Buy them back for the same amount of money, lame, old and with issues 4 or 5 years later.

Yup Rocket Surgeon here.

mugwump said...

I can't go to bed without adding just one more thought. I personally can no longer give up my horses.
I do work on a small ranch that buys, breeds, and sells. If they didn't I wouldn't have a job.
Which is to give each horse the best chance for a good life through solid, sensible training.
The horses they breed are good looking, good minded animals, the kind of horses we need more of. I could never critise them, or have any opinion except a good one.
So there's a conundrum for us all...

anniebanannie said...

austraincurls said:In the age I grew up in, and when horses where still treated like gods, and how they were at home previously handled with respect and care, the horse was holy in and of use in many respects, he was given a permanent home, he was trained to perform certain tasks, and treated as a family member...why?

I don't know where you came from but in the arid west of the US, I was told by old buckaroos, men that were moving horses around in the early 1900's, that horses were less important than your saddle. You could always buy a new horse but if you lost your saddle, you were doomed as a "good hand." Only a precious few horses were treated "as a family member." The rest, like the automobile of today, were easily sold, traded and euthanized when they were no longer useful.

To answer your question Laura (Which was difficult to tease out of your prose, BTW. What ever happened to the thesis statement anyway? Get your point or question out up front and make it easier for us), is that it depends on your viewpoint. Obviously we all have differing opinions as to what our obligations are to our horses.

Often it seems as though Fugly's point of view is that all horses deserve some consideration based on what they have done for their human benefactors. Since Fugly has definite opinions, she classifies people based on those opinions.

So, if you don't have issues with what happens to a horse if it gets sold down the line, sell it. If you care about a horse, then you may want to be more careful about where they go. This are not, however any guarantees when you sell your horse no matter what you do or who you sell it to.

However, IMNSHO, there are horses that, for whatever reason (temperament, personality, previous handling, abuse, etc), are not going to fit into any human prescribed program. These are horses that are dangerous and should not be sold to an unsuspecting buyer nor should they be bred no matter their breeding or conformation.

As with most issues, often the extreme opinion is the one that gets noticed. But it often takes drastic opinions to get an issue noticed. Such as the equine slaughter ban; the simple solution to horse slaughter was thought to remove the slaughter houses. The plight of the faithful saddle horse brought out the soft hearted en masse and the measure was passed. To date, the ban on slaughter has not reduced horse suffering, but eventually the lack of easy disposal of horses will reduce the amount of badly bred and poorly trained horses. The pendulum must swing.

I've bought and sold many horses but as I age, I have gotten soft hearted and have three that will die on the property. They aren't all that special, but I have experienced enough to know how hard it is out there for good horses, much less the poorly bred, badly conformed hard-luck cases I've acquired. It would hurt too much to think of them scared, hurt and lonely on the road to Canada or Mexico. I'll shoot them myself first.

mugwump said...

anniebannanie-I like the way you think. My favorite horse goes by the name anniebannanie....:)

Laura Crum said...

anniebannanie--True, I did not pose the question up front but rather at the end of the post. This was to "entice" the reader to read the whole piece--a purposeful device. But I can appreciate that from your point of view it was difficult to "tease" the question out of my prose. Fair enough. You made some good points. Sounds like you, just like me, have ended up keeping some horses out of fear of where they might end up if you sold them.

Jami Davenport said...

Mugwump,

I love the horse in your picture. Gorgeous!!!

anniebanannie said...

Laura, I appreciate that you wanted us to read the whole of your post. I figured that out. However, writing fiction and requesting opinions from busy people are two different things.

If I were to pick up on of your books, I would expect less of an exposition more fictional narrative and characters, etc. In this instance you are asking people for impressions on a topic it seems to me that it would be most important to get the question up front and elaborate later. Those who have the time, will read the balance if they feel the need.

I don't know about the rest of the people who regularly read FHotD, but I'm very busy. I have a full time job as a horticulturist, I ride two horses a day (at least), I train earth dogs, am an artist, have a husband, have two children and a partridge in a pear tree (no, I don't sleep much). IMNSHO, your attempt to "entice" may have turned off quite a few folks who would have responded.

If you are doing research for a book, great. Although I've never read your books (but I have been "enticed" to do so now), I think you've got all the makings of a great novel from FHotD. Neurotic horse hoarders, in-fighting rescuers, sexual abuse (animal and human), gun toting hillbilly horse breeders. Geez, it could be an impressive tome.

Good luck.

Laura Crum said...

anniebannanie--I think you'll my books are a bit faster paced than this blog. (And yes, writing fiction is very different to this sort of piece.) But let me know what you think. After almost twenty years as a published author I can stand a little crtiticism. And yes, the fugly blog definitely provides a lot of material that could be used in one of my mysteries. Do you think my next blog (Friday 27th) has a more direct approach? (I do try to learn from my mistakes.)

anniebanannie said...

If you want input from horse folks I think that you should put the point of your blog post in the front and make it easy for them to discern what you'd like from them.

If there is one thing I've learned over the years is that horse people absolutely love sharing their opinions... Often you get a ration of opinions whether you wanted it or not.

If you just wish to muse over a topic or share an event, then getting to the point quickly isn't as important.

The reason I wrote what I did was because I was feeling like Mental_Midget who said: Was there a question, there? Sorry it was unreadable. Better luck next time.